A Year in Africa: Overall, I can say this much — this past year was life-changing and something I will be forever grateful that I took the leap of faith to do. Wow, I really did that, and I have so much to say about my experiences! When I made plans for this sabbatical fourteen months ago, I feared that my time away ten months would be too short.
Equator, Gorillas, Volcanoes, oh my! Posted by wildestdream on May 22, May 8-May 12, Yes, this trip broke the bank, and almost all the muscles in my legs, but what an unforgettable experience!
I experienced so much in this one week and to know that my time here is still continuing, I am out of words. Just happy My wildest dream thankful.
On our drive out of the city, we got side-swept by another car, and had to pull over while our drive haggled over the damages and whose fault it really was. I stayed calm and polite, but what a strange conversation… When we got to Lake Mburo, we took an evening game drive through the park where we saw many zebra, giraffes, waterbuck, gazelle, pumas etc.
The sun began to set and the full moon came out, and it turned into a magical night.
We came back and had a lovely dinner of pumpkin soup, pork schnitzel and rum banana for dinner. We slept in our tents as the sounds of zebras, lions and cows lulled me to sleep. We woke up early to drive nearly 8 hours to Kisoro. The drive was beautiful as we wound our way through hillside villages, farms, plantations and forests.
Again we woke up early to arrive at the My wildest dream head and start hiking Mt. Note to the reader: I only knew one thing about this hike: I wanted to experience being in those three countries at once, so I signed up classic Abby! But I digress…As we started hiking, we had some beautiful views of the volcano, high in the clouds!
I started to wonder what I was getting into as the slope of the hike changed from 15 degrees to degrees and I was having trouble catching my breath.
Three hours later, we reached the first summit and it was so exciting! We had some snacks and as the clouds blew through, we had glimpses of the second the third summits…. An hour later we summited the second peak and were completely socked in by the clouds.
The third summit is reached by climbing ladders no less than 70 degrees in slope. I began counting the steps, thinking there was no other way I could survive this hike without focusing on something besides the pain in my legs.
Wow, what a spectacular view and reward for hiking 5 hours straight up! We ate the rest of our lunch and lived in the high of the moment, so happy to have summited, feeling like we just made it to the top of Mt. The third volcano from the left, see peaks one, two and three?
No big deal, but we hiked that! Within the first five minutes of descending the summit, I knew I was in serious trouble. My knees felt like they were going to give out, the screws in my foot from my surgery were about to pop out of my skin and the rest of my legs were shaking due to lack of strength left in them…I was able to hold in most of my tears on the way down, only said a few bad words, said a few prayers and tried to limit my anxiety that I was maybe causing permanent damage to my body from this hike.
Five hours later, we reached base camp…Alleluia, praise God, I did it, it was a challenge, probably the most challenging physical activity I have EVER done. Like ever ever ever.
Ten hours of hiking 14 km through a mostly degree ascent to 3, meters above sea level. We drove a few hours to the next accommodation, had dinner and then collapsed literally into bed. As soon as I stirred in my bed from the alarm, I knew I was in trouble.
My whole body hurt, and putting weight on my legs was so painful. I could hardly bend my knees and sitting on the toilet was a challenge.
We ate a quick breakfast in order to to get to the Gorilla trekking briefing in time. The more I walked, the looser my muscles became, but I was worried we may be the group that takes four or more hours to find a gorilla family. Some groups hike for 45 minutes, others all day to find their gorillas.
I was praying we would find our family sooner than later. We began hiking and immediately it was a downhill hike of about 45 degrees, then up hills or 60 degrees for about an hour. He pulls out his machete and starts hacking down the bush as we descend almost straight down a valley.
I laughed almost the whole way down as I was slipping on the bush, mud and giddy to see the gorillas. We came to the bottom of the valley, and our guides told us to get our cameras ready and put our walking sticks away.In my wildest dream And on a bed of roses Under the pale moonlight I wait for sweet surrender Until another night Oh, you're still in my wildest dream Getting the best of me The way you used to do Oh, tell me, do Do you still think of me The way I could make you feel When love was all we knew.
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